Back in class 11th, I initially selected Science stream and was enrolled in IIT classes like most students who scored well in 10th boards. My parents were sure I am 'very intelligent' and capable of making it to a top engineering college. But the first month of coaching shortly became an entry gate to what seemed like hell.
I was frequently praised endlessly by my parents for my academic performance and how I am "better" than other students. I was so unprepared for the competitive environment of IIT aspirants, that the anxiety was crushing my spirit. I couldn't cope up with the pressure of outshining other competitors who were working very hard for the few spots for top colleges. I chickened out and got my stream changed to commerce.
I wrote about the exposure I got while in commerce to different aspects of business, accounting and economics, feeling like I made the right choice by switching to a much more interesting & useful stream while avoiding the cut-throat competitive world of science. Little did I know, something much worse was in store ahead for me.
My family couldn't see me doing average graduation and insisted on joining a "professional course" which, for any commerce student, had only one option: Chartered Accountancy. I gave the entrance exam and scored well, so it was agreed unanimously that this is the path I must take to secure a "bright future" at the expense of my mental health, social life, happiness and dreams.
The journey from that entrance test & joining a correspondence college to the multiple attempts of CA final slowly chipped away at any chance of happiness. Sacrifices are necessary to secure a stable future, I was told. This must be my destiny, I was told. From developing substance abuse addictions amidst severe loneliness & stress, to several failed relationships, hospitalisation, a Vipassana retreat, confusion & hopelessness by the time I gave my last attempt of CA final, life became an even worse Hell than what I thought I avoided by leaving science. 7 years into this journey I finally erupted like a volcano, threw away all the books and ran from the last exam for which I appeared, declaring that I am done with this path and would rather work at a call center than ever pursue an academic degree again.
Starting from scratch, I joined a short MS Excel certification course and found an entry-level job in a startup as an MIS Executive. It was here that my true passion for Business-related IT Softwares emerged, where I asked to be given a chance at the "IT Business Analyst" profile despite having never formally studied Computer Science. I worked very hard to learn IT things at a fast-forward pace and within a few months I was handling both MIS & BA profiles at the company. I overcame my social anxiety and learned to manage teams and projects while learning IT basics. Despite hearing from people that a commerce student cannot get a job or a degree in a science field, I kept working towards my goals having only my dedication & belief in myself.
Fast forward 4 years later and I've now completed both M.C.A. and MBA from correspondence, and also secured a job where I'm responsible for international software project management for business needs at a Fortune 500 MNC. I'm now thinking of giving CA finals another attempt someday down the line.
The tagline for my life would be, "It always seems impossible until its done". I reached here despite having no real support or encouragement for my decision to divert from the straight linear way of approaching career decisions and trying out something unexpected. All it takes is belief in oneself to achieve the seemingly impossible, and the commitment to keep moving in the direction of one's goals in life; I wish everyone has the courage to think beyond the limitations which society places on our options and keep moving forward, always.
The light at the end of the tunnel is very bright. The crazy journey is so worth it!
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